The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy
Special Extended Edition
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This critically acclaimed epic trilogy follows the quest undertaken by the hobbit, Frodo Baggins, and his fellowship of companions to save Middle-earth by destroying the One Ring and defeating the evil forces of the Dark Lord Sauron. With new and extended scenes carefully added back into the film, the 12-disc set also includes hours of bonus features.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: As the triumphant start of a trilogy, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring leaves you begging for more. By necessity, Peter Jackson's ambitious epic compresses J.R.R. Tolkien's classic The Lord of the Rings, but this robust adaptation maintains reverent allegiance to Tolkien's creation, instantly qualifying as one of the greatest fantasy films ever made. At 178 minutes, it's long enough to establish the myriad inhabitants of Middle-earth, the legendary Rings of Power, and the fellowship of hobbits, elves, dwarves, and humans--led by the wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and the brave hobbit Frodo (Elijah Wood)--who must battle terrifying forces of evil on their perilous journey to destroy the One Ring in the land of Mordor. Superbly paced, the film is both epic and intimate, offering astonishing special effects and production design while emphasizing the emotional intensity of Frodo's adventure. Ending on a perfect note of heroic loyalty and rich anticipation, this wondrous fantasy continues in The Two Towers (2002). --Jeff Shannon
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers is a seamless continuation of Peter Jackson's epic fantasy based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. After the breaking of the Fellowship, Frodo (Elijah Wood) and Sam (Sean Astin) journey to Mordor to destroy the One Ring of Power with the creature Gollum as their guide. Meanwhile, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), Legolas (Orlando Bloom), and Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) join in the defense of the people of Rohan, who are the first target in the eradication of the race of Men by the renegade wizard Saruman (Christopher Lee) and the dark lord Sauron. Fantastic creatures, astounding visual effects, and a climactic battle at the fortress of Helm's Deep make The Two Towers a worthy successor to The Fellowship of the Ring, grander in scale but retaining the story's emotional intimacy. These two films are perhaps the greatest fantasy films ever made, but they're merely a prelude to the cataclysmic events of The Return of the King. --David Horiuchi
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: With The Return of the King, the greatest fantasy epic in film history draws to a grand and glorious conclusion. Director Peter Jackson's awe-inspiring adaptation of the Tolkien classic The Lord of the Rings could never fully satisfy those who remain exclusively loyal to Tolkien's expansive literature, but as a showcase for physical and technical craftsmanship it is unsurpassed in pure scale and ambition, setting milestone after cinematic milestone as the brave yet charmingly innocent Hobbit Frodo (Elijah Wood) continues his mission to Mordor, where he is destined to destroy the soul-corrupting One Ring of Power in the molten lava of Mount Doom. While the heir to the kingdom of Men, Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen), endures the massive battle at Minas Tirith with the allegiance of the elf Legolas (Orlando Bloom), dwarf Gimli (John Rhys-Davies) and the great wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen), Frodo and stalwart companion Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) must survive the schizoid deceptions of Gollum, who remains utterly convincing as a hybrid of performance (by Andy Serkis) and subtly nuanced computer animation.
Jackson and cowriters Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens have much ground to cover; that they do so with intense pacing and epic sweep is impressive enough, but by investing greater depth and consequence in the actions of fellow Hobbits Merry (Dominic Monaghan) and Pippin (Billy Boyd), they ensure that Return of the King maintains the trilogy's emphasis on intimate fellowship. While several major characters appear only briefly, and one (Christopher Lee's evil wizard, Saruman) relegated entirely to the extended version on DVD, Jackson is to be commended for his editorial acumen; like Legolas the archer, his aim as a filmmaker is consistently true, and he remains faithful to Tolkien's overall vision. If Return suffers from too many endings, as some critic suggested, it's only because the epic's conclusion is so loyally inclusive of the actors--most notably Astin--who gave it such strength to begin with. By ending the LOTR trilogy with noble integrity and faith in the power of imaginative storytelling, The Return of the King, like its predecessors, will stand as an adventure for the ages. --Jeff Shannon
Also on Disc: The extended editions of Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings present the greatest trilogy in film history in the most ambitious sets in DVD history. In bringing J.R.R. Tolkien's nearly unfilmable work to the screen, Jackson benefited from extraordinary special effects, evocative New Zealand locales, and an exceptionally well-chosen cast, but most of all from his own adaptation with co-writers Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, preserving Tolkien's vision and often his very words, but also making logical changes to accommodate the medium of film. While purists complained about these changes and about characters and scenes left out of the films, the almost two additional hours of material in the extended editions (about 11 hours total) help appease them by delving more deeply into Tolkien's music, the characters, and loose ends that enrich the story, such as an explanation of the Faramir-Denethor relationship, and the appearance of the Mouth of Sauron at the gates of Mordor. In addition, the extended editions offer more bridge material between the films, further confirming that the trilogy is really one long film presented in three pieces (which is why it's the greatest trilogy ever--there's no weak link). The scene of Galadriel's gifts to the Fellowship added to the first film proves significant over the course of the story, while the new Faramir scene at the end of the second film helps set up the third and the new Saruman scene at the beginning of the third film helps conclude the plot of the second.
To top it all off, the extended editions offer four discs per film: two for the longer movie, plus four commentary tracks and stupendous DTS 6.1 ES sound; and two for the bonus material, which covers just about everything from script creation to special effects. The argument was that fans would need both versions because the bonus material is completely different, but the features on the theatrical releases are so vastly inferior that the only reason a fan would need them would be if they wanted to watch the shorter versions they saw in theaters (the last of which, The Return of the King, merely won 11 Oscars). The LOTR extended editions without exception have set the DVD standard by providing a richer film experience that pulls the three films together and further embraces Tolkien's world, a reference-quality home theater experience, and generous, intelligent, and engrossing bonus features. --David Horiuchi
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The basic facts-
LOTR series has basically two types of movies- a) Theatrical and b) Extended, each edition are available in both-DVD and Blu ray format.
Extended versions of the movies have humongous amount of extra film footage added to the theatrical editions (approx. 30, 40 and 50 additional minutes for movie 1, 2 and 3 respectively). So, go for the extended editions only if you are a die hard fan of the movies. If you are not, the review ends here. Buy whichever movie you like in your preferred format and enjoy. Thanks.
FOR LOTR FANS-
Let's get straight to-the-point. Now, many of you may as well own the DVD versions of LOTR (Either Theatrical or Extended ot both), and if you are trying to make a decision whether to spend more money on this blu ray extended, here is the comparison-
Extended DVD set-
For each movie they have 4 discs (2 movie discs and 2 extra features); So total 12 discs. Sound is DTS ES 6.1, which is significantly better than regular dolby digital. This set is probably the most gorgeous I have ever seen for any DVD. Colorful and feature packed, it stands out in your entire collection.
Extended Blu ray set-
For each movie they have 5 discs (2 movie blu ray discs, 2 extra feature DVDs and 1 behind the scene DVD). So, total 15 discs. Audio is spine chilling DTS HD 6.1 and it has the all the betterments of blu ray (HD pic, HD sound, BD live). Also, blu ray set includes the Digital copy of the Extended Versions of all three movies (Standard definition, not HD). The set itself is a delight, with a sturdy golden cardboard package that is durable and beautiful. The remastering of these movies have been handled excellently and with respect to both picture and sound, this one is SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER THAN THE DVD.
The GOOD (Blu ray set over DVD set):
1. Video and Audio significantly improved. Excellent blu ray transfer. I have not noticed any 'darker' colors as mentioned by some other viewers.
2. Blu ray set has THREE EXTRA DVDs (Behind the Scene for each movie) apart from the 2 extra feature DVDs.
3. Blu ray set has Digital copies of Extended versions of all three movies.
4. They did not waste a DVD for digital copy. You download them straight from the server.
5. Digital copies are great downloads and super easy. Together, it's almost 10 GB download, which was overwhelming for me.
1. Extra feature DVDs (2 for each movie) are the SAME as those of DVD editions. In fact, the DVDs are identical when I do head-to-head comparison. These DVDs are pulled straight from the older DVD editions, nothing new added there.
2. The overall appearence of the set is not as beautiful as the DVD sets. This one is excellently packed though, lacks the colours of the DVD set.
3. Extra feature discs are DVDs and not Blu rays.
If you own the extended DVD set, then buy this only if you want to have a great improvement in pictutre and sound quality. The only extra features you get is 'behind the scenes' DVDs. All other extra feature DVDs (total 6 of them) will be a duplication of what you already own in Extended DVD set. Actually, I noticed that all the extra feature DVDs here are from the various older DVD editions. The two DVDs are from the Extended DVD set, and the one 'behind the scene' is probably pulled from the limited editions of LOTR (the double sided DVDs that New Line Cinema released sometimes back).
However, if you do not own the DVD versions, then this is a must buy as this includes almost everything that you can think of (HD movies, extra features, behind the scenes, plus digital copies).
UPDATE 1: Also check the images I uploaded which may help make the comparison.
UPDATE 2: Thanks for all those who marked this review as helpful. As you are interested in LOTR, I guess at some point you'll consider purchasing "Hobbit" as well. I have recently written reviews for those, hope you find them useful too. Comments are welcome!
UPDATE 3: DIGITAL COPIES: When I purchased the set back in 2011, the set came with complimentary digital copies. Nevertheless, the later editions do not seem to have digital copies with them (hence the lower price I guess). Please verify the product information closely before making a purchase. Thanks!
I noticed a lot of scathing reviews of a supposed "bootleg" or "knockoff" version they have bought of this Blu-ray extended edition with French script written on it. I can assure you it ISN'T a bootleg, but a legitimate copy . . . from Canada! It was released by a now-defunct DVD/Blu-ray distribution company named "Alliance Films" that later was assimilated by a larger distribution company, though I can't recall the name. The reason I know it's legitimate is because I've spoken with someone who is very technology savvy and he informed me that, although DVDs are easy to copy and paste to a disc, Blu-rays are harder to copy due to the fact that there will be significant quality loss (dodgy/spotty audio, heavy pixelation/dead pixels, bad motion blur, etc.) if done so. I watched the films completely over a weekend and spotted no quality loss.
Anyway, onto the review of the item.
This set includes Region A (Blu-ray) and Region 1 (DVD) discs. The set itself will work in American devices since Canada and the US both share Region A and Region 1 devices. However, if you live in Mexico, the Blu-rays in this set will work for you, but the DVDs will not.
The main contrast with this set and the American set is this: unlike the US set, this one doesn't have the reinforced carboard shell with magnetized foldout map but rather a flimsy cardboard sleeve and it doesn't have the removable back cover sleeve, but rather has a heavily modified back cover with French translations since the majority of Canada speaks English as their second language, with French being their main language. It's also rated 14A from the Canadian Home Video Ratings Board, which is the equivilent to MPAA's rating of PG-13.
Also a neat little thing I discovered upon opening the cases: a flipside of the French translated covers.
The movies are split onto two Blu-ray discs in each set. Now, I know the Hobbit Blu-ray extended editions have the films on a single disc, but all I can figure is that the encoders thought this was best due to how long the films are. Fellowship being 3 hours 48 minutes, Towers being 3 hours 56 minutes and King being 4 hours and 23 minutes. Personally, I like the idea of them being split onto two discs each. It gives you a break; an intermission, if you will. You can relax, take your bathroom break, refill your drinks and snacks all before you start up the second part of the film.
The discs themselves seem to be three different sets per case. The two Blu-ray discs seem to be from a standalone extended edition Blu-ray set, the two appendices DVD discs seem to be from the extended edition DVD boxset and the fifth disc seems to be from a limited edition release set that corresponds with it's set color. I'll refer to the colors as: Fellowship forest green, Towers crimson red and King royal blue.
Each movie features 4 different commentary tracks from the director and writers, the cast, the production team, and the design team. I haven't tested these to see if they do cancel out the film audio, however, since it'd mean I'd have to sit through all three films 4 more times each.
The set also includes the booklets for each film, but with French translations beside the English. However, when I opened the Fellowship booklet, the pages were printed incorrectly. All the pages were in it, just not in the correct order. At least the appendix menu tree pages and Extended Edition summary pages were correct. The other two booklets' pages, however, were in correct order (I have no idea if this is a common occurrence with this set or not). Just a small blemish on an otherwise dandy set.
The first film has the blue/green color cast, but it has been slightly corrected compared to the extended DVD version. I checked a side-by-side video for comparison and the Fellowship has been slightly color corrected, but not fully. Still a bit blue/green, but not as jarring.
I, honestly, would have wanted the foldout map version of the set, but I still love this set nonetheless. This set may not have the special box and/or removable back cover, but it's still a fantastic and inexpensive alternative. A solid collection. If you want just the extended films and bonus discs, then this set is for you. All the meat with none of the fluff.
Also be sure to click on "helpful", so others can see that this set is indeed a true set and not a knockoff. Thanks in advance and enjoy the films.